How to Escape the Self-Employment Trap and Enjoy Running Your Business Again

I talk to thousands of business owners every year and the stories are all too similar. The owner of the business is consumed by his or her day-to-day management of the business. They work 80-90 hour weeks and while they are able to support their family and their lifestyle, they feel trapped.

They are burnt out. And depending on how long they have been in the business, they grow to hate the business they once loved.

In fact, many business owners only last a few years before calling it quits because they feel like their business owns them, instead of the other way around. It’s something I like to call the self-employment trap.

That said, here are a few ways that you as a business owner can beat the odds and escape this trap.

Hire a workforce that delivers to your high standards.

One of the main reasons that business owners feel trapped in their business is they feel like no one on their team can deliver to their high standards. This is how a business owner then falls into the role of catching many last-minute mistakes or “fires” that they have to rush in and fix–often at a high price to their family and personal life.

Now, finding people who can service your customers to a high standard is doable. But creating a system or a process for finding, hiring, and on boarding your team is the preferred method. Because at the end of the day, staff will move on and you will need to find their replacement.

Begin by being really clear on the various role descriptions within your company, and deciding what your “must-haves” are. These are the things that a candidate must possess before you move forward with them in the hiring process. By laying it out on paper ahead of time, you will have a much better chance of finding the ideal candidate. 

Next, look at your onboarding process. Every new hire will have a set task list that needs to be done before they join your team. This could involve technology setup, education, position-specific training, access to documents and files, etc. Put everything down on paper and build on the task list every time you on board a new employee. Over time, you will be able to speed up the onboarding process with your procedures.

Systematize your lead generation efforts.

Many businesses fall victim to sporadic lead generation efforts. You see a lack of sales and start scrambling for fresh leads. Then you get caught up in servicing and managing the new batch of leads and your lead generation efforts fall to the wayside. And then you rinse and repeat.

This cycle is a recipe for burnout and makes it almost impossible to manage cash flow and scale your business. 

If you want to escape the cycle, focus on consistent, systemized lead generation efforts. Set up automated funnels, lead capture pages, and advertising campaigns that can run in the background to keep your leads fresh. Don’t be afraid to outsource this portion of your business to a third party, if you lack the skills or capacity to do so in-house.

With a stronger hiring process and consistent lead generation effort in place, you can begin to scale your business without sacrificing your family or social life. Over time, as you get better with these two pieces, you will find yourself putting out fewer fires and having more time to spend looking at the bigger picture and the things that will help your business scale. 

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